It's been a busy start to the offseason for the Houston Rockets, who in the weeks following their playoff exit in the second round, have lost both head coach Mike D'Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey. While they've already replaced Morey with Rafael Stone, they're still in need of a new head coach.
On that front, they're deep into the interview process and have zeroed in on John Lucas, Stephen Silas and Jeff Van Gundy as their three finalists, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. The team is now expected to consult with players to get their opinion on the various candidates.
Van Gundy is the most notable name here, thanks to his prominence as a broadcaster and his success early in his coaching career with the New York Knicks. He also has a history with the club, coaching the Rockets from 2003-07, though that was under a different ownership group and front office. His only coaching experience since leaving Houston 13 years ago has been on the international level, where he's led Team USA during lesser tournaments such as FIBA AmeriCup.
John Lucas might not be well known to casual fans, but between his playing and coaching career, he's been a part of the NBA for over four decades. He's currently a player development coach with the Rockets, and is one of the most well-respected people in all of basketball. His last head coaching gig came way back in the early 2000s, when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers for a little over a season.
Silas has been in the league for two decades now, working as a scout and assistant coach for various teams, though he did have a brief experience serving as interim head coach for the Charlotte Hornets during the 2017-18 season while Steve Clifford was out ill. He gained accolades for his player development work, including with Steph Curry early in his career, and most recently has been an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks since 2018.
The fact that the Rockets are going to consult the players -- James Harden and Russell Westbrook should have the most influence -- figures to be an advantage for Lucas. After all, he's been working with some of these guys for years and is the only one most of them will know first hand. But obviously, it remains to be seen which direction the Rockets will go.